Erdogan's 'Nazi' swipe at Germany's Merkel draws criticism

Pauline Gross
March 20, 2017

Erdogan made the remark about Merkel at the weekend after the authorities in Germany had refused to allow several Turkish ministers to campaign for a "yes" vote on their soil.

He attacked German chancellor Angela Merkel again on Sunday, accusing her of using "Nazi measures", according to Agence France-Presse.

Senior German officials have cast doubt on Turkey's chances of joining the European Union, as it continues to claim it is being treated unfairly by countries in western Europe.

"But you are right now employing Nazi measures", Erdogan told Merkel using the informal "you" in Turkish.

Scheduled for April 16, the plebiscite proposes amendments to the constitution that will make Erdogan the sole executive head of state, with the authority to choose his own cabinet ministers, enact laws, call elections, and declare states of emergency.

But he said after a spree of sporting infrastructure projects in recent years: "We are always ready to hold any kind of sporting event".

The vote is created to change the Turkish constitution to give Erdogan sweeping powers.

The Netherlands and Turkey are also now embroiled in a major diplomatic dispute after the Dutch banned two Turkish ministers from addressing rallies shortly before the election.

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Some of the participants carried flags and banners of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), as well as portraits of Kurdish nationalist leader Abdullah Ocalan.

Erdogan declared that the current policy of a number of European states is based on fear of Turkey's power.

Germany's Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel responded to Erdogan's comments by calling them "shocking".

Observers say the importance of the diaspora vote which traditionally gives strong support to Erdogan is viewed as increasingly key given that opinion polls indicate the result is too close to call.

He also accused Deniz Yucel, a Turkish-German journalist, of being a Kurdish "terror agent".

Erdogan, who previously served as mayor of Istanbul, said Turkey had proven its ability to host major events, adding its sports infrastructure had grown dramatically in his 14 years in national government.

"Instead of consistently following their principles, Germany and some other countries change positions according to their interests and who they deal with", he told Al Jazeera, stressing that Germany recognises the PKK as a "terrorist" group.

Other reports by GizPress

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